Although the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has chosen to celebrate its rebel heroes with a black-tie dinner at the Waldorf Astoria hotel, the anarchic spirit of the form still permeated the air as the class of 2001 was inducted Monday night.
There was presenter Keith Richards, beautifully rambling in tongues, the way all rock gods should, as he inducted Burton and Johnson. There was inductee Burke, looking like a sultan pimp in a sparkling burgundy suit and fur-trimmed cloak. There was Kid Rock diving headlong into Aerosmith’s past excesses as he inducted the band, joking of their 1977 album, Draw the Line, “From what I understand they drew a line around the world and snorted the whole damn thing.”
There was Steely Dan’s Walter Becker, who jarred the crowd into awkward silence upon his band’s induction, saying, “Everything we’ve had to say about the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame we’ve said on our Web site, so I’d just like to open the floor to questions.”
“Totally underwhelmed” may have better described the reaction of Steely Dan’s Becker and Donald Fagen as the duo entered the hall. Inducted by mainstream techno icon Moby (who later admitted, “I don’t know how or why I was chosen. I assumed they hated everybody.”), Fagen and Becker used their time at the podium to joke about the swipes they have taken at the hall on their Web site and discuss Mothers of Invention trivia.
Asked backstage if they had any feelings at all about entering the hall, Becker replied, “Apparently not.”
The duo were more spirited during their performances, rolling out a version of “Black Friday” and later teaming with May, who delivered an appropriately manicured solo on “Do It Again” during the jam portion of the event.